5 ways to Success (Satire)

5 ways to success

“Have you ever dreamed of making $100k or more each year through social media and online marketing?”

“Build an online following with as little as 2hr’s per week that will generate HUGE revenue”

“Learn more how I quit my day job and now earn over 10k per month while traveling”

“I started investing in cryptocurrency with no previous experience. Join me on a path to $1million in 2018”

Do you suffer from FOMO?(click HERE for definition) Maybe you have read quotes like the ones above and it made you feel insecure about your “foolish” choice to remain in your current job. The job that does not earn a 6-figure income. The job that doesn’t involve posting beachwear pictures of yourself somewhere in the tropics while working online. Do you wonder what you need to do to sip expensive mixed drinks in the corner of 5* hotels’ rooftop infinity pool and get paid for it? Look no further, this article is for you. Here are 5 ways to success.

1. Make your life all about others

After reading many self-help articles and spiritual quotes online I’ve learned it’s important that the focus of my life is about others. Please don’t misunderstand. This does not mean making sure others around me are cared for, or living in a way that is selfless. *note (care/being selfless cannot be monetized) I mean making sure every action (or picture I post) revolves around others approval.  This is the only way to true happiness and success.

2. realize a “like” or “follow” is the same as someone liking you

It’s easy to get discouraged in a world where “people” ask you to waste your time with them in a public place like a coffee shop or restaurant. So much time is wasted in these conversations that may only be deeply relevant to this individuals journey in life or well-being. These contacts, as warm and affectionate as they seem to be, detract from what’s truly valuable in life….Online presence.  *”people” A term used to describe individuals requesting inconvenient face to face interactions. These are not yet true “friends” or “followers”.

3. If you are not earning money online you are earning the wrong way

Everyone knows how the industrial revolution changed the way “work” was done. Those who were unable to adapt to the changing economic model were left behind. Without picking up a hammer, carpenters and other tradesmen have already found success building entire houses on Instagram and Youtube. Houses constructed digitally will make up over 20% of all builds by the year 2025.

4. Cryptocurrency

There are two types of people in this world. Stupid people, and those who invest in cryptocurrencies. Consider this, if you still believe that working is the best way to earn money. This is also the best way to contribute to the greater good around you. Each dollar earned through crypto investments directly impacts issues like world hunger. Because when I have MORE, I”m less likely to sympathize with the negative feelings associated with poverty. Investing in Bitcoin is investing in the future. Fast-food was the best thing since sliced bread. Whats even better than fast-food? Fast money.

5.reject jobs requiring time or effort

If there’s one takeaway that’s obvious it’s that any desirable job will not require much time or effort. If you consider the vast majority of successful people in the past 100 years it’s clear their success can be attributed to working as little as possible. Their vision from the beginning revolved around making as much money as quickly as possible. These individuals realized early in their careers that ALL work they would be willing to do should be fun, enjoyable and self-fulfilling. These are the building blocks of long-term success. (click HERE for an article I wrote about worthless jobs)

Now that you have learned all 5 ways you can find success in life, go share this on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. Let’s go viral with this. Like an epidemic.

*Let me finish by saying I am not against having money or earning it. I don’t mean to imply anything negative about people who have had financial success. Success like this often me to obsess over how to earn it and stress myself thinking about it. This article was written to alleviate some of that pressure.




My friend in the sex industry (lessons in love)

So, I was having dinner with my friend in the sex industry the other night….

Take a moment, try to be fully honest with yourself. What judgments or emotions does this sentence create in you? Would it be possible for you to say “my friend in the sex industry”? Or are you “unreachable”, never allowing a situation like this to take place? I’ll tell you how I found myself in this exact situation during one of my travels.

Meeting Nan

I have been attempting to write this article for a couple months now. How can I speak openly about something that is often so hidden and so judged that even just the mention of it can cause offense? During my recent time in SE Asia I visited some friends I have known for many years.I was welcomed to stay with them in an apartment shared with a few others and was introduced to a woman I”ll call “Nan”. I was excited to spend some time with my old friend and meet some new ones.We (My friend, Nan, another woman, and myself) spent a day together being tourists in a beautiful coastal region. We had a wonderful dinner together talking about life, family, and hopes for the future.

During our ride back home my friend mentioned to me under his breath that “Nan” was working as a “bar-girl”. (Click for a link to a definition) He mentioned that this was of course not approved of in society and that Nan was living separately from her children so they would not learn of their mothers’ shameful occupation. This same woman, who was nervous meeting and talking with new people, who had dreams for her children’s future, who wanted to enjoy an afternoon with friends… was working directly in the sex industry.


I immediately found my judgment sensors kicking in.

“She should stop living in this disrespectful way!” “She is wrong. Why would she do that – HOW could she do that?” And then without consciously thinking about it, I could feel myself distancing myself… my emotions, my mind, my talk. At this moment, I mostly wanted to stop speaking. Simply being another friend to this woman now felt uncomfortable. All the talk of interests, hopes, dreams, and stories that I felt comfortable sharing before somehow started to fade into non-discussable/non-engaging territory.

I had already listened to Nan share about her children, their ages, their interests and how much she misses them. I could see a sadness in her eyes. She made choices that many parents often make; desperate sacrifice for the sake of children. In the following weeks, I had a chance to speak more directly with Nan about her future, her family, and her own personal dreams. I heard a story that was familiar to many single mothers. A failed marriage, lack of employment and support from family and friends. With the cost of school fees, children’s clothes, food, and rent exceeding what Nan was able to earn in her previous job she took the difficult decision to earn money for her family by working in the sex industry.

Lessons of love or morality?

Mostly, I found myself heartbroken and challenged by the story told. I was heartbroken because I saw a woman with a gentle and quiet personality taking an occupation that not only went against her personality but also was eroding her self-worth and view of herself. Trapped in a cycle of hiding from her family in shame. I was challenged because my stereotypes of the type of person who is a sex worker were no longer fitting the mold.  I wanted to teach a lesson of escape, I wanted to reach out. But with what? A lesson of love or morality? How could I suppose to walk in shoes that were in no way my own?

Freedom & dreams

I don’t claim to have all the answers for how to bring goodness to what looks like a difficult and seemingly helpless situation. But as I considered my feelings of empathy I discovered that my own personal goals and dreams certainly have a way of re-humanizing me on days when I feel I have become just another cog in the capitalist machine. Nan and I began to have conversations about dreams and goals. At first, her responses were about dreams she had for her children, but in time we were able to start to speak about her own dreams and interest. One of them being painting and drawing. We also started talking about freedom. What other potential ways she could become free of this guilt and shame of her current occupation and what possibilities she had for sustainable work in the future.

Many religions attempt to offer explanations and solutions to injustices like this. I particularly like this verse from 2nd Corinthians 5:17 “This means that anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!” This newness of life is something that people all over the world are trying to find.  Who will find it? And what does the “new life” look like? A common theme of suffering. An uncommon destination of freedom.

final thoughts

I wrote this article not to explain some narrow path or view of how you should behave in or judge a situation like this. But to raise awareness about how often we as a society are judgemental or indifferent to challenges so many women face on a daily basis around the world. Making a choice between self-sacrifice or sacrifice of family. I hope to keep my eyes open wider than before and my heart, less judgemental. I will face a “reality check”. Am I doing what I can in good conscience to love each person I meet fully? Or do I prefer the feeling of my familiar judgments and the safety of my disengaged comfort zone?


I recently learned that Nan was able to find a well-paying job in a restaurant and has started creating T-shirt artwork which can supplement her salary.  These positive changes in Nan’s life are allowing some happiness and light to re-enter her life.






I want a divorce. The process of separating who I am, from what I do

I want a divorce…

I know it’s not the popular thing to do. Still, I’m tired of living with this marriage between my occupation/accomplishment (what I do) and how I see myself. (who I am).  What is the difference between these two? And what effect does separating them have on my choices and my feelings each day?


In my past years, I can see where my legitimate and healthy desire to grow, challenge myself and improve started becoming something that only controlled me but also began defining me. During this failed marriage, each time my “less developed and unaccomplished self” ran into a harsh word from a girlfriend, disinterest, disapproval or rejection from a friend or parent the “performance” based value system became more established. I believed that in order to be worthy of love or acceptance, the things I did needed to be changed.

Lust for love
At a young age, I learned that
improved/exceptional actions=approved/acceptable person.
If my performance did not meet expectations in my relationships or work life my acceptance and value as a human being would diminish. Previously during childhood, I saw a good day as one where I ate a big bowl of cereal for breakfast, went out into the warm summer sun with my friends and enjoyed time together. Content in my existence. Healthy and fed with friends and a roof over my head.
By the time I reached adulthood I realized so many of my days were seen and felt as “bad days” because of someone’s disappointment or dissatisfaction with my business. Other times it was a former girlfriends’ accusation of my failure to live up to her expectations of a boyfriend. Or sometimes my own self-judgment of not reaching my own goals fast enough, or not maintaining goals and ideals set by the society around me.  (who I am vs. what I do) For example the expectation that a “real job” is one that involved staying in one place and manufacturing something. A job where you play music for a living or write and travel. These are not considered legitimate occupations to many people in my hometown. Any of this sound familiar? Tell me I’m not the only one who has thought this way and made these judgments? The consequence of all these years of failing to meet expectation left me feeling small, unworthy as an outsider and incapable of fitting in. A slow yet steady progression towards being a slave of others expectations of myself which became my expectations of myself.
awkward separation
In an effort to “file for divorce” I started stepping away from my businesses in a more direct way 6-8 months ago. I became isolated from my prior success. The confidence in my skills as a businessman could no longer be relied upon to prop up my insecure and uncertain self. When all was stripped back, I was left vulnerable to each and every word and judgment around me. No longer safe inside the cocoon of my accomplishments.  I was still forced to confront questions of “what do you do for a job and what are your plans”. Previously I could confidently reply, “I’m running a few businesses, a real estate investment company, an I.T. business, a recording studio” I could also feel comfortable and justified in my own mind by thinking of future projects and goals I intended to take on and be a shining success in. Now I was left with a shadow of the past and an unclear path for the future. Was this enough to still be “ok”? Was this enough to have “good days”?
future life of freedom
I was left with only myself. And who I am. These questions of how I define and value myself hit hard. Almost all people have the ability to “survive” life. But are these people living it well? Living abundantly? Living lovingly with a forgiving and helpful heart? Walking fearless in spite of all the horrors that life may throw at us? Cancer, death, abuse, infidelity and injustice.
I realized that the ground I previously worshiped as my stability was ground that many other feet had walked on, spit on and disrespected. Why should I keep using this filthy ground as a mirror to reflect and judge my own value?
I would prefer to base my identity and value in who I am, not this shifty ground of actions and accomplishment. In the past months of travel, I have met many others on a similar path.These individuals are quitting jobs, leaving relationships and seeking an understanding of themselves not rooted in their accomplishment or meeting expectations.
moving forward

I cannot answer every question as to how to direct your identity and value to a healthy source. Although my realization of this marriage and the separation that has followed has been very difficult. Living with the (what I do defines me) mindset for the rest of my life would be far more difficult. I have a clearer mind about the importance of this separation and also a faith that gives added clarity in regards to my value and my identity. I hope that you will take time consider what you spend most of your time focused on? What you do, or who you are becoming.

Learning to shut up! My experience at Dipabhavan, 6 day silent meditation retreat.

Recently I decided to test my limits in a new way by spending time at Dipabhavan for a silent meditation retreat. I figured this would be a great way to clear and calm my mind after some hectic years in the states managing multiple business ventures. Also, I figured sitting in quiet for awhile would force me to address some less pleasant thoughts I had been putting off. Here are some of the basics you should know about these retreats and what impact it had on my life.

What’s it all about?

If you have not heard of these “retreats”, they typically involve spending a week or so at a “center” or “monastery”. This particular retreat was hosted by Dipabhavan on Ko Samui island in Thailand. 6 days long. No cost (donations only). And was hosted by Buddhist monks. Although they welcome people of every religion to participate. During this week you will spend most of your time involved in “meditation” exercises. You will spend some part of the day listening to a monk or other leaders teaching you how to meditate. They also share with you some of the practice and purposes of their religion.  You will have the chance to detox from your normal diet with only 2 vegetarians meals served per day. You can also detox from the digital world as they take away all cell phones and laptops when you arrive.

meditation center steps
Meditation center steps at night
Day 1

We had an orientation the night before which explained what the schedule would be, what the rules were and allowed each of us to meet & greet. There was quite a mix of people from all countries and walks of life. The old “hippie” from the States to young Russians as well as practicing Buddhists from Australia.

Brass Bell
Brass Bell that called us to meditation

We started our morning at 4:30 am and ended our days at 9:00 pm. You may be wondering how do you get appx 70 people up at 4:30 in the morning when everyone’s alarm clocks and phones were taken away? A large and loud brass bell. There was no chance of sleeping through this morning wake up bell. They encouraged us to forget about time and clocks, and just listen for the bell throughout the day. The bell would announce each change of task, meditation, breakfast and dinner. I became acquainted with what my body feels like after sleeping on a wooden bed with a wooden pillow, how to manage only 2 meals per day, how to use a toilet with no toilet paper for 4 days and how to cope with a bored and distracted (monkey mind).


Day 2

By day 2 my body felt the effect of sleeping on a wooden bed. My hips and my shoulders hurt the worst. Surprisingly the wooden pillow was fairly comfortable.  It seemed that the real reason they require “silence” during the retreat was to prevent people from complaining. 🙂 As you seek to deny yourself and your ego it’s important to not put your own needs and discomfort below that of the teachings of the Buddha. You are to be mindful/aware of each experience and feeling, but you are not to become “involved” in feelings and thoughts which are not calm, peaceful and content. We were taught how to observe these thoughts and feelings while focusing on long breathing meditation. If we practiced these techniques we would not be distracted by pain or discomfort.”These feelings too, shall pass.”

They had a wooden pillow and straw mat similar to the one shown above at the silent meditation retreat
Day 3

Each day we practiced different meditation techniques while sitting on the floor, standing or walking. Personally, I found the standing meditation to be the most useful for relaxing and clearing my mind. I was able to bypass the discomfort of sitting cross-legged for so long, and also not have the threat of falling asleep.

Sitting meditation (long breathing)
While sitting cross-legged on the floor with my back comfortably straight I learned about long breathing exercises. This was to help my mind and body be calm. It also increased my attention span, and focus. I took long deep breaths while focusing on the feeling of the air entering my nostrils. Then I was instructed to follow the breath down towards my lungs while noticing how my abdomen would naturally expand at the completion of each inhalation. Likewise, I would trace the breath back out of my abdomen area up to my lungs and out my nose. These meditations lasted 1/2 hour each. Being fully aware of each breath was the ONLY focus of this meditation. Click HERE for more info about long breathing.

Standing meditation (long breathing)

Standing meditation also focused on long breathing. (you can read about that above)

Walking meditation (Attention, awareness, and alertness)
I also practiced walking meditation sometimes in a group setting other times alone. I figured at first it would only be taking a little walk alone down a path to clear my head. It wasn’t like this at all. Again the exercise focused on awareness and mindfulness of each step I took. A 5 stage walking meditation was taught. Again, the point was to focus individually on each process of the step. From the raising of the heel at the beginning of each step. To the placement of your foot at the end.
You can read more about different walking meditation methods HERE.

Day 4

The eight teachings of the buddha are as follows.

  • I undertake the training to intend not to take away any breath
  • I undertake the training not to take away what is not given
  • I undertake the training to keep my mind and body free from any sexual activity
  • I undertake the training not to harm others by speech
  • I undertake the training not to harm my consciousness with substances that intoxicate and lead to carelessness
  • I undertake the training not to eat in between afternoon and before dawn
  • I undertake the training not to dance, sing, play or listen to music, watch shows, wear garlands, ornaments and beautify myself with perfumes and cosmetics
  • I undertake the training not to sleep or sit on luxurious beds and seats

For four days I listened how  “we should place our trust in the dhamma” (the teachings of the Buddha), how the goal of the long breathing exercises was not only to calm our mind but to eventually reach a point of “awakening”. My mind would be turned “inside-out” in a way. At this moment I would experience some kind of reward, a “positive feeling” and also the opportunity to be enlightened.  All my effort, dedication and hard work would “pay-off”.


I am very glad to have had this amazing experience. Separate from my phone. Separate from the outside world. Consequently, It provided so much quiet time that allowed me to have a proper detox and cleanse from so many distractions I had in my mind and my body. For example, it helped me clear away negative thoughts of past relationships and handle the hostile situations I find myself having to deal with in business without getting stressed about them. There are many wise and helpful teachings of the Buddha. When practiced, these teachings can enhance your life and also the lives of those around you.


I decided to end the meditation on the 5th day in the morning. I can only speak for myself. I found meditation practiced according to Buddhism was limited. All of my effort and time spent was inward focused in hope of enlightenment. As wonderful as a clear view of things around me is useful. It is not the same as being an active and helpful participant in the society around me.


Finally, I wondered what my experience would’ve been and what new insights I would’ve gained about myself and the world around me if I had dedicated 5 days to working in a Thai orphanage instead of sitting doing breathing meditation. Maybe my desire to grow and understand would’ve been aided more by reading the beatitudes and meditating on those words and their meaning. Click HERE to read them.  Maybe by focusing on the words I speak, the songs I write and helping others, I can achieve “enlightenment”. And create a positive impact at the same time.

The Unsettled Settler. Life outside the lines

The unsettled settler.

“It’s time you settle down, isn’t it?”
“Maybe you should settle for this right now.”
“He/She’ll never settle down.”

These are some common phrases heard around the world. Words possibly spoke in love (or fear/anger) to a son, daughter, niece, nephew, grandchild.
But what does it mean to hear those words, when inside something feels more “unsettled” than permanent?
The unsettled settler.

Some call it escaping, while others call it growing; Running away or stepping forward?… Laziness or fully living?… Maybe it’s quitting? Or just beginning?

The goal isn’t to turn against society, to be obstinate or ornery. Instead, it’s to live a life enriched with experience beyond the ordinary.

To “settle” used to involve taking risks, traveling across an unknown land beyond the edge of “comfort and common”. This was not a negative trait during those early years of civilization. Rather, It was a necessary part of human nature. We still carry this nature with us today.

There are many ways to traverse across the unknown. While travel can inspire, travel itself seldom grows a person. Most importantly, it’s the choice to take interest in things unknown, to open your mind beyond the familiar to have the strength and independence to live not only according to the rule of society and expectation of those around you.

In this blog, I will share some stories of growing up as an “unsettled settler” in a rural post-industrial midwest and my journey since then. My journey started with a strong desire to travel, explore and meet new and interesting people. But after starting a business and allowing it to take over my life and well being, I responsibly quit and spent time abroad. This was my attempt at getting a balanced view on life, my purpose and passions and what I consider “of value” in my life.

I hope to have other “settlers” share some of their own passions and life experiences that will inspire others to push the boundaries they currently have around themselves and give courage that it is NEVER too late to make choices you believe in no matter how “unknown” the path, how challenging the work, or absurd the thought.

Go, explore, learn, dream.

The “unsettled settler”


Northern lights in Coldfoot, Alaska

The northern lights are one of the most mesmerizing and unusual natural wonders in the world. People from all over the world flock to far north on 3 different continents. This, just to witness a light show that puts the trans-Siberian orchestra laser show to shame. How unfortunate that the coldest and darkest months are also some of the best months to see the northern lights! Recently I had the opportunity to see the “aurora borealis” northern lights with my father in Alaska.


One of the keys to getting the most vivid view of the northern lights is to isolate yourself from the “light pollution” of the world around you. With a little effort and the help of the Nothern Alaska Tour Company we made it 6hr by bus to Coldfoot Camp. This village is certainly named more appropriately than Philadelphia. Its’ winter temperatures are often between -30F and -40F (-34C and -40C). This village has a population of 10 according to the 2010 census. Better hope you get along with your neighbors. 🙂

Primetime viewing

The University of Alaska Fairbanks has a website dedicated to forecasting when the aurora will be most visible. This site (with hourly updates) provides a scale of auroral activity. You can see which cities in Alaska and Canada offer the best visibility for this amazing display of lights.

Our nights hunting for northern lights

Night 1
Shortly after 11:00 pm I was woken up by my alarm. Peak viewing happens between 11:30 pm and 1:30 am in January at Coldfoot Camp in Alaska and unfortunately whoever is in charge of the lights is unwilling to schedule for earlier hours.
My first night out we took a short trip to the village of Wiseman. Wiseman got its name from the gold mining era. When “wise men” realized there was no gold to be found in Coldfoot and went 6 miles upstream to mine there instead of the barren Coldfoot.
We stayed warm in a cabin built by a miner in the 1930s, while our guide kept watching the sky outside.
He came in and announced optimistically that there was a narrow band of the lights starting to show on the horizon. We bundled up with our fur hats and leather gloves, eager to see the lights for the first time.
As we went out into the silent -27F air I was reminded of how many nights previous humans spent in this town, not for the fun of seeing the northern lights. Rather these men were focused on survival. Their main concerns were finding enough gold to buy food and supplies as well as preventing hypothermia. In spite of our different focus, myself and these former pioneers were standing on the same piece of ground able to witness this same natural wonder nearly 100 years apart.
Small view
The lights had begun making a small showing of light green on the horizon. Unfortunately, they did not develop beyond this on our first night out. We stayed out in Wiseman until nearly 2:00 am. Fortunately, they had a very nice homemade steel barrel outdoor furnace seen in the picture below so our time outside was not as painful.
wiseman alaska outdoor furnace
Outdoor barrel furnace at Wiseman Alaska.
Trappers Cabin in Wiseman Alaska
Night 2.
Night 2 didn’t provide much additional viewing. This time we decided to stay in Coldfoot to view. Again I set my alarm for 11:30 pm and looked out my window for some indication of activity. Sure enough, across half of the midnight horizon, there was a light green glow. Although this night the aurora was more active, the sky was clouded and snowing. Disfigured, the lights only managed to eek out a dim and blurry green glow.
Night 3 (last night in Fairbanks)

Night 3 we had returned to Fairbanks (as our arctic circle tour had ended). We decided to ask some locals where a good place to see the Northern lights may be just outside the city. We were recommended to park at“Hot Springs Gas” which is found a few miles up the Chena Hot Springs road. This gas station is surrounded by hay fields and provides a decent (plowed) place to park away from most city lights. The University website showed high aurora activity expected this night. So again we set our alarms for just before midnight. Alarms rang, we got up, put on our layers and drove about 20 minutes outside of town. Once again we were able to see some pulsing light, but the clouds kept us from the full glory of the northern lights.

The raven

I kept hearing about “the raven” from almost every (tribal) native Alaskan. The raven can help you in the wilderness and other times hurt you. One particular quote came from an older native named “Grandpa Joe.” He said, sometimes success isn’t about the raven or his spirit, “It’s just luck. And some people have more luck than others.” I guess this time, I was part of the “others.”

Click here to watch a  30 min video from the 80s about changing times for Alaskan Natives including “Grandpa Joe.”

*The photo of the northern lights on the top of my blog post was not taken by me but was taken at Wiseman camp by another photographer who did manage a clear night with aurora activity.


Alyeska Alaska. Some trailing thoughts

Alyeska Alaska. trail thoughts from the Chugach mountains.

You could choose to not climb these hills.
Instead, stay inside during winter. Avoid fighting the cutting cold on your ears and nose.
Likewise, you could stay put inside the comfortable and familiar place of “home”. Never seeing the frost covered trees, the shining crystal forest.
There are avalanches and rock slides. I saw the effects.
Some have died.
Even tall trees that stood hard and wouldn’t bend, let alone crack were cleared away in one terrifying moment. But even these avalanches that demolish everything in their way, make room for new growth.
It’s not until we get out into the mountains and hills, wherever they are, whatever they may be, that we have the chance for new life. Step up and step out.
Click HERE for a link to the Alyeska resort. You don’t need to stay there to enjoy the trails and amazing views from the sky tram.
Anyone have a great story about how avalanche wiped away something in your life or someone close to you? What ways has this allowed change and growth in the days that followed?

A guide to busking Europe- the “to’s, not to’s, how to’s and who’s who”

Busking. The modern day activity of the traveling minstrel, singing for his supper, charming the fair maids and locals in each town he passes through. I’ll give you a few tips from my 8 years of playing streets, squares and corners in almost every European country and the U.S.A.

3 helpful tips
  • Be engaging!
    If you are interested in making more than pocket change in your case, you gotta learn to engage.
    I have found making eye contact, smiling, standing up while playing (If at all possible) moving/dancing while playing, speaking to people between songs, playing familiar/popular music and limiting the number of sad/slow songs I play to less than 1/4 of my set has helped my engagement.
  • Know the difference between real police and street police.
    There are usually two types of police in Europe. Street police and real police. Real police, although they appear much more intimidating, are usually less likely to shut you down for playing music in the street. The local city council often requires a permit to busk. Acquiring one of these permissions slips can be quite a process. It is much easier to ask forgiveness than permission.  I have not been fined yet for playing in the street even when I was told it was not permitted.  DO NOT use the local language with police even if you know and understand it. ENGLISH=IGNORANCE. 🙂 use it.
  • Watch out for “territorial” performers
    Seriously. It’s not always a dream to tour Europe street performing. You will often find gypsy or Roma people to be very pushy and accuse you of taking their “spot”. I assure you in these situations EVERY spot in the city is their spot. If you are alone, you may want to back down or at least give a look at surrounding street corners. You can make sure there is not an accomplish of your competition waiting to follow you home.

Just be a friendly and respectful person to all who you encounter and most issues resolve fairly quickly. Listen to, and reach out to friendly and approachable street artists for some tips on good places to play around the city. Click here for a more detailed guide about busking from Do you have any tips or experiences to share of your time on the busking circuit? Share in the comments below.




Paid vacation teaching english in the Ukrainian mountains

Oct 20, 2014…
a random facebook message comes into my inbox from a stranger.
“Hi, I am looking for a native speaker to invite on a paid vacation to communicate with the kids at the Camp in Carpathian mountains. The problem is that it starts in only a week October 27-31, would you possibly be interested?”

This began my relationship with a wonderful Ukrainian friend of mine Olesya. She and her husband Viktor started an English language school in L’viv Ukraine called “Linguistic Center Boyar.” They also arrange weeklong intensive learning camps for young Ukrainians eager to expand their knowledge and practice of English.

Paid vacation teaching English

I responded to Olesya’s facebook message and told her I was interested in hearing more about what this week in camp would look like. Although I wasn’t completely sure if I had just started a conversation with my future kidnapper, so I decided to proceed with caution. I requested a skype interview with Olesya to make sure this friendly and innocent looking blonde woman’s profile pic was in fact, a REAL friendly and innocent blonde woman and not a shaved head former KGB agent running an international kidnapping ring.

After my Skype interview, Oleysa no longer felt threatening. I took an overnight bus to Ukraine a week later. My hosts gave me a tour of a beautiful school they had built in L’viv and shortly after we were boarding some small busses with a few young teachers and lots and lots of kids aged 7-15. We arrived at a beautiful lodge/resort tucked away in the Carpathian mountains. I spent the next 5 days there teaching and participating in some basic English classes and activities.

There were a few overwhelming moments I needed to remind myself of what Olesya had said to me early on  “this is a vacation, not a job.When I saw my time spent in this light it helped me focus on the value of my time. After a week with these lovely teachers, I saw the amazing future they are providing their young students by giving them access to the world of English. This experience easily convinced me of the value of this time spent and it encouraged me to keep a more healthy perspective. Check out the fb page of Boyar Camp for pictures and videos that give a better idea of the excellent work they are doing there.




Have teeth, will travel (medical tourism in Poland)

The title doesn’t sound like much fun other than the clever phrasing. But, saving a couple thousand dollars and getting to enjoy a trip abroad opened my mind and mouth to the idea of medical tourism in Poland.

My story of using dentistry in Poland started with making friends with a dentist’s’ daughter while street performing in Krakow. I was in my early 20’s and never had my wisdom teeth removed. My dentist back in the states took an x-ray and recommended I have them removed. Because I did not have insurance that covered dental services in the USA surgery to remove 4 teeth cost $2500. I mentioned this to my friend Ewa who told me her mother knew a surgeon who would likely be happy to take a look at my x-ray’s and give me an estimated cost.

$60 per tooth!

Off to Poland!

I booked a 2.5-week flight from Chicago to Krakow for around $500 dollars arrived in the morning took a bus to the clinic the same day and had my teeth pulled. I had two days where I didn’t feel like doing much, but after half a week I was already taking self-prescribed medicinal shots of pure polish vodka which served as a pain reliever and bacteria killer. 🙂

Just an interesting angle to look at when considering your next operation dental or medical. For example, Poland has E.U. standards without E.U. prices. An English publisher “The Guardian” wrote an interesting article online a few years back about UK citizens traveling to Poland for medical tourism with some helpful info on how to arrange a trip like this for yourself. Click HERE for a link to the article.

I had a total cost of around $740 dollars for flights and tooth work. I was able to spend another $750 on enjoying Poland. Having surgery in the USA would’ve cost $1000 dollars more! This left me with a clean financial conscience, extra dollars in my pocket and a few less teeth. Getting teeth pulled is never fun. But it can be if you get to travel to another country and save money while doing it!